Academic regalia and procession
The UMKC graphic identity positively communicates a higher level of education. The torch and flame graphic elements have historically represented the elements of achievement and enlightenment fostered by a university setting. The flame’s centered placement further emphasizes UMKC’s centralized place in its community. The use of traditional UMKC Blue and Gold as well as the classical nature of the typography illustrate UMKC’s longevity and history as an academic leader. UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI SEAL The seal was adopted March 31, 1903. The straight perpendicular lines on the printed shields denote courage. The grizzly bear of Missouri is walking leisurely with face turned toward observer. A new moon is outlined in white and in the lower right corner appears the arms of the United States of America. Appearing on an open book is the motto of the University, Salus Populi, “The Welfare of the People.” Sigill Universitatis Missourien MDCCCXXXIX means “the seal of the University of Missouri 1839,” the year the University was established as the first state university west of the Mississippi River. In the summer of 1996, the University of Missouri Board of Curators adopted the University of Missouri seal as the new symbol of the University of Missouri System. The historic and timeless seal embraces all elements of the University of Missouri.
On Historical Significance In the 12th and 13th centuries, when universities were first taking form, they were under the jurisdiction of the church. Most people studying were members of holy orders and wore cloaks with cowls or hoods that could be pulled over the head in bad weather. This mode of dress soon became associated with students, and in the early 1300s became the standard academic attire at Oxford and Cambridge. Academic dress first appeared in America in colonial days. With the establishment of Columbia College in New York in 1754, many of the regulations of the British universities were transplanted to this side of the Atlantic. In the latter part of the 19th century, more and more colleges in the United States began to use academic attire at commencement exercises. The movement was essentially a student one, desired because of the uniformity, dignity and sense of tradition that the wearing of robes gave to the ceremony. As the custom grew, it became evident that a flexible system adaptable to all institutions was necessary. In 1895, a uniform code was drafted by an intercollegiate commission, which chose the design of the caps, gowns, hoods, colors and materials for the various degree-holders from universities in the United States. The deliberations of this group have only been modified slightly by successor committees appointed by the American Council on Education. This uniform American style of academic dress provides a method for identifying the highest degree held by the wearers and from what faculty and university he or she received it. This contrasts with the British universities, in which each has a code of its own.
Three types of gowns have been devised for bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The official gown for the bachelor’s degree is black, has a stiff yoke, shirring across the shoulder, pleated front panels, and it can be distinguished by its long pointed sleeves. It should be worn closed and have no adornments. Master’s degree gowns, until 1960, were made to be worn open. The sleeves appeared short, with the rest of the material being an oblong drape that terminated around the knee of the wearer. The gown was particularly cumbersome, and in 1960 the American Council on Education modified it. Now, the gown closely resembles the bachelor’s gown, and the master’s degree gown can be worn closed. The gown for the doctoral degree is distinguished by the velvet panels around the neck and stitched down the front edges to the hem. It is cut much fuller than the other gowns and may be ornamented in color. Three horizontal bars decorate the full, bell-shaped sleeves. The velvet trim may be either black or the color of the school to which the degree refers. Originally, the bachelor’s degree gown was made of black worsted and the master’s and doctor’s gowns of black silk, but today’s wide choice of fabrics, including synthetics, makes the matter of material primarily one of individual preference. Those whose doctoral degree is from Yale may choose to wear a gown of Yale blue instead of black or of Harvard crimson if their doctoral degree is from Harvard University.
Hoods and Caps
Originally used as a head covering, shoulder cape or a bag for collecting alms, the hood is retained today for the sake of tradition. Its shape is like that used when large wigs were worn, when the wearers did not wish to cover their elaborate hair styles. The hoods were kept merely for their symbolic and decorative effect. A narrow neckband connects the two halves of the cape proper, which is lined with colored silk or taffeta. The mortarboard or Oxford-type cap is a descendant of the simple, round commoner’s cap of medieval times. The name “mortarboard” comes from its similarity in shape to the square board commonly used for mixing mortar. It is always black and may be of an appropriate material, except velvet, which is reserved for doctors. The tassel hangs over the left front quarter of the top. Tradition decrees the mortarboard should be worn indoors and outdoors.
The shape and size of the American hood is determined by the college degree of the wearer; the color of the outside velvet border marks the academic school in which the degree was taken, and the color or colors of the hood lining are the official colors of the institution. A bachelor’s degree hood is three feet in length with a velvet border two inches wide; a master’s degree hood, three and one-half feet long with a three-inch-wide velvet border; and a doctoral degree hood, four feet long with a five-inch-wide border. The color of the velvet border is determined by the faculty or school in which the degree was taken. In assigning colors, much consideration was given to historical association. White was given to schools of art because of the white fur of the Oxford hood. Red, the traditional color of the church, was assigned to theology; green, the color of herbs, was given to medicine; and golden yellow, to science. Other color appropriations include business administration, sapphire blue; dentistry, lilac; education, light blue; engineering, orange; fine arts, brown; laws, purple; music, pink; pharmacy, olive; and philosophy, blue. The name of the institution at which the degree was conferred is designated by the colors used in the hood lining. As the same colors are used again by various colleges, different methods of combining them are employed. In addition, many institutions used chevrons to meet the need for further differentiation. Hoods may consist of one or more colors and as many as three chevrons. This system, though distinctive and advantageous in some respects, limits the human ability to recognize the degree hoods of more than 800 degree-granting universities and colleges. The University of Missouri hood has a lining of old gold, with each campus showing a different color chevron. The University of Missouri-Kansas City has two blue chevrons; the University of Missouri-Columbia has two black chevrons; the University of Missouri-Rolla has two silver chevrons; and the University of Missouri-St. Louis has two scarlet chevrons. A person holding more than one degree wears the gown and hood of the highest degree. Someone having two degrees of equal importance can have the velvet border of his hood indicate both colors, but usually the last degree taken is the one indicated by the colors of the velvet. The color or colors of only one institution may be shown in the hood lining. Members of the administration of a university are all entitled to wear doctor’s gowns, but their hoods must accurately represent the degree they actually hold. A trustee holding a bachelor’s degree may wear a doctor’s gown for ceremony, but he must wear a bachelor’s hood. It is permissible for a faculty member to wear in the hood lining the colors of the college at which he is in residence rather than the one at which his degree was conferred.
Degrees with Honors
Students ranking in the upper 10 percent of their graduating classes and meeting the academic standards prescribed by the faculty will be graduated “with distinction.” This honor is symbolized by the wearing of a gold cord around the collar of the traditional black robe. Students who complete the prescribed courses in the honors program and meet the program’s specified academic standards will receive their degrees designated “honors.” The red cord symbolizes the graduate’s completion of 21 to 28 hours of honors credit courses and a grade point average of 3.0 or better. Those graduates wearing the blue cord are graduating with honors and are designated as an Honors College Scholar. They also have completed 21 to 28 hours of honors credit courses, maintained a GPA of 3.0 or better, but have additionally completed an undergraduate honors thesis for six credit hours.
Most academic ceremonies begin and end with an academic procession, a descendant of clerical processions. The procession is formed in ranks of two, and all participants are dressed in gowns appropriate to their degrees. At the head of the procession is the chief marshal. Other marshals, members of the faculty and alumni accompany the commencement procession. Originally in the British universities, marshals were messengers of the proctors, and they nightly patrolled the streets of university towns to prevent conflicts between students and townspeople. Today the term is applied to men and women appointed to organize the commencement procession and keep it in order. The commencement procession is led by the students who are receiving degrees. following in consecutive order are the faculty and deans, the presidents of affiliated organizations, the trustees, the curators, the chancellor and the president.